Thursday, June 23, 2011

Delicious Silver Beet in season now

Silver beet is often looked down upon as the inferior "spinach". It's actually a very different ingredient and preferable to the milder English spinach in many rustic dishes.

This dish is much tastier with silver beet and the crinkly leaves give it a lighter texture.

Silver Beet and Chick Pea Tortilla

Serves: 8 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

knife, chopping board, garlic press, non stick fry pan, large bowl, small bowl for rubbish, plate for flipping

1 onion, sliced finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 bunch silver beet, washed, stems removed and shredded
1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas (or 1 tin), drained well
¼ c olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat grill.

1. Place half the oil in the non stick pan and gently fry the onion and garlic
2. Add the drained chick peas and warm through, stir through silver beet till wilted
3. Empty frypan and wipe it with kitchen paper
4. In a large bowl combine silver beet, chick peas, onion and garlic and season with salt & pepper
5. Warm fry pan and add remaining oil
6. Arrange spinach and chickpea mix evenly in the pan
7. Pour over beaten egg and allow to soak through to the bottom, eggs should partially cover the spinach
8. Cook for 5-8 minutes, keep an eye on the bottom by lifting with a knife
9. Place under grill and cook till browned; c. 5 minutes
10. Take pan out and place a large plate on top
11. Carefully flip upside down onto plate and slide back into the pan
12. Place back on the fire and cook till all egg is cooked through

To Serve: invert onto plate and slice into wedges or squares.
To be eaten hot, warm or even cold the next day.

Also good with: Sweet potato and peas, Zucchini and Grated Carrot etc….

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mmm... Meatless Monday!

Serve this mild curry with steamed Jasmine rice and quinoa.

Mild Coconut Vegetables withTofu

1 teaspoon vegetarian red curry paste (recipe below)
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
250 grams pumpkin, peeled and diced
2 cups broccoli, beans, bok choy, peas, snow peas (to taste)
handful of button mushrooms, wiped clean
3 cups water
1 tin coconut milk
1/2 packet puffy tofu, cut in half (cooked chick peas also work well)
coriander/ kaffir lime leaves to garnish
mushroom soy sauce, to taste
Squeeze lemon or lime juice to finish

1. Heat 1/2 cup of coconut milk till boiling, gently fry off the onion and garlic for 3 minutes
2. Add water and all the hard vegetables (potato, carrot, pumpkin)
3. Simmer for 10 minutes till vegetables have softened
4. Add the tofu (or chick peas), mushrooms and bring to the boil
5. Add the green vegetables and cook till tender
6. Add the remaining coconut milk and simmer for 1 minute
7. Taste and adjust seasoning adding mushroom soy sauce for saltiness, lime/ lemon juice for sourness.

Serve over steamed jasmine rice and a lemon or lime wedge

Thai Red Curry Paste (Vegetarian)

2 tablespoons coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorn

7 large red chillies, de-seeded
10 small dry red chillies
5 red shallot
7 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped coriander root
2 inch piece galangal
2 lemongrass stalk
2 teaspoons kaffir lime rind
1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons black soybean paste (or miso paste)
¼ cup coconut milk

Vegetable oil for storing in jar
1. Dry roast coriander, cumin and peppercorns in a frypan until fragrant.
2. Pound the the roasted seeds in mortar and pestle until they are powdered.
3. Place the next set of ingredients in the food processor with the pounded spices and pulse.
4. When all are combined add the soybean and coconut milk and blend till smooth.
5. Spoon into a sterile jar, top with vegetable oil and refrigerate till use.
6. Keeps a minimum of two months.
7. Always fry/ cook paste before use.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dhal-ing what a quick meal!

Microwave your pappadums till crisp and golden, check them after 30 seconds as they burn quickly!

Got 30 minutes to make dinner?
Quick, put on some basmati rice and prepare some dhal.
It'll be done in 30 minutes, no soaking, no pre-boiling... ready to eat.
Pop some pappadums in the microwave for 1 minute and you're good to go :-)
If you want an extra kick of chili you can spoon a little hot mango pickle or sweeten the deal with delicious mango chutney.

Red Lentil & Chick Pea Dhal

This Indian “stew” can be prepared with lentils, split peas or chick peas but a combination provides a wider range of nutrients and variety in texture. The split peas require soaking and pre-cooking so save them for when you have some more time or you've planned ahead.

Serves: 8 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 10 minutes (yellow split peas and dry chick peas require soaking & pre-cooking)
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

knife, chopping board, garlic press, large saucepan, measuring cup, wooden spoon, small bowl for rubbish, mortar and pestle to crush whole spices, fine grater for ginger.

1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
¼ cup olive oil
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1teaspoon coriander seeds
1teaspoon cumin seeds
5 cardamom pods (green/ black)
1teaspoon turmeric powder
Fresh or dried chilli flakes to taste
Salt and pepper
1cup red lentils
1 tin chick peas (or 1 ½ cups cooked chick peas)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (or 4 fresh chopped tomatoes)
3 Lt Vegetable stock or water

To serve:
¼ cup coriander, chopped
1 lemon, juiced

1. Gently fry onion and garlic in oil in a large pot. Add grated ginger.
2. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle or with a heavy knife and add to the pot.
3. Fry spices gently to release their aromas, if they catch on the pan add a little water.
4. Add tomatoes, stock and lentils/ split peas/ chick peas.
5. Cook gently for 30 minutes or until all pulses are soft. Stir occasionally.
6. Just before serving stir through chopped coriander and lemon juice.

Serve with: steamed basmati rice, naan or roti bread to soak up the juices.

This recipe freezes very well without the coriander and lemon juice.
It can also be thinned with more stock to a soupy consistency.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Have you seen the price of fruit and veg lately...

Being vegetarian used to be so cheap!
But recently our fruit and veggie bill has almost doubled. Too much water, not enough water, high transport costs, high rents on shops... plenty of excuses. Even dry legumes have gone up, especially anything organic.
I can't wait till I have my new veggie garden up and running. Until then I'm shopping around for fruit and veg in season. That's the cheapest option.
Today that was cauliflower and eggplant. Guess what we're having for dinner!


Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes

Equipment: knife, cutting board, baking tray lined with baking paper, oven, large bowl, blender

Oven: 200 C (hot)

1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 large eggplant, cut into 4 cm cubes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons medium-coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup tahini paste
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approximately 1 lemon)
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1. Heat oven to 200C degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper
3. In a mixing bowl, toss cauliflower and eggplant with oil, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper until well coated.
4. Spread in a single layer on 2 baking sheets and roast, stirring and turning once or twice
5. Roast until cauliflower and eggplant is tender and crispy brown in spots, about 45 minutes.
6. Puree tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.
7. Remove cauliflower and eggplant from oven and immediately transfer to a serving bowl.
8. Pour tahini sauce over the cauliflower and eggplant, toss to combine.
9. Serve warm or let stand at room temperature.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A little sunshine on a rainy day...

Winter is my absolutely most hated time of the year.
The cold, the rain the damp UGH!
To chase the winter blues away I import the sunshiny flavours of Spain in this delicious white bean and vegetable paella. Scented with saffron and smoked paprika it makes the weather almost bearable...

Saute the vegetables gently to bring out the sweet flavours and create a smooth base for your paella.

Don't be tempted to stir the paella, once you add the stock let it simmer gently till all the liquid is absorbed. Add the peas towards the end of cooking so they maintain their bright green colour.

This is a hearty one dish meal from the Spanish rice growing region of Valencia

Serves: 8 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes (not including bean soaking and cooking time)

knife, chopping board, paella pan or large, wide heavy based pot, cup, measuring jug

½ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
1 large green capsicum, diced
1 large red capsicum, diced
1 cup flageolet or navy beans, soaked and cooked till tender
1 cup butter or lima beans, soaked and cooked till tender
250 grams green roman or continental beans, cut into 10cm lengths
4 baby artichoke hearts, peeled and sliced (put in acidulated water)*
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced
2 cups Spanish calaspara or bomba rice (short grain)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon (hot or sweet) smoked paprika
pinch saffron threads soaked in 1 cup warm water
1.5 litres vegetable stock (depends on how much is absorbed by the rice)

1 cup frozen peas
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

1. Heat the oil in a paella pan or a wide heavy based pot
2. Fry the garlic, carrot and onion briefly before adding the capsicums, cook for 1 minute
3. Add the artichoke hearts and cook for another minute
4. Add the green beans, the tomatoes cook for 1 minute, stir in the rice and season.
5. Add 1 litre of stock and add the saffron water and hot paprika
6. Boil for 10 minutes
7. Add the peas and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes adding more stock if necessary
8. Do not stir the paella!
9. Leave to stand briefly before serving from the pan sprinkled with parsley and lemon wedges

* If artichokes are not in season, garnish dish with marinated artichoke hearts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quick Afternoon Treats

We've abandoned store bought treats and biscuits. Reading the ingredients list felt like we were purchasing a chemistry set! So when friends drop in unexpectedly in the afternoon its either a quick batch of scones or my favourite rock cakes!

Spiced Rock Cakes

These are super fast to make, perfect for when unexpected guests drop in.

Makes: around 20
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

large mixing bowl, measuring cup, wooden spoon, electric mixer (optional), 2 oven trays lined with baking paper
Oven at 200C

2 cups self raising flour
90 grams unsalted butter, chilled
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup mixed dried fruit
¼ cup dried cranberries or glace cherries
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Tiny pinch ground cloves
Grated lemon rind (optional)
1 egg
½ cup milk

1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips till mixture resembles breadcrumbs, alternatively use in a an electric mixer
2. Mix in the sugar, spices, dried fruit and lemon rind (optional)
3. Combine the egg and the milk in the measuring cup and add it to the mix
4. Using a wooden spoon, mix till combined into a stiff dough
Spoon tablespoons onto prepared trays and bake for 15 minutes till golden

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Night, Comfort Food

We've been battling winter chills this week. By Friday we've had enough soup! The next best thing.... Shepherdless Pie!


A vegetarian version of the perennial family favourite.

Serves: 8
Preparation: 15 minutes (+ overnight soaking and 20- 40 minutes bean cooking)
Cooking Time: 1 hr

knife, chopping board, large saucepan, measuring cup, wooden spoon, grater, potato masher, vegetable peeler, ovenproof dish or foil tray.

300gm Dried Adzuki beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and cooked till soft
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 Onions, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Carrots, grated
1 Capsicum, finely chopped
2 Celery sticks, finely chopped
2 Zucchini, grated
400gm Pumpkin grated (optional)
2 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 tin Tomatoes
2 tablespoons Tomato puree
Salt & Pepper to taste

6 Potatoes, peeled, boiled in salted water and mashed
Butter + milk for mashed potatoes (optional)

1. Drain the adzuki beans well.
2. Gently fry the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and capsicum in olive oil till softened.
3. Add the herbs and the zucchini and pumpkin cook a further 5 mins.
4. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and stir through.
5. Add the adzuki beans and cook 10mins till flavours have combined.
6. Season well and spoon into oven dish.
7. Top with an even layer of mashed potato.
8. Bake at 180C for 30mins till top is golden.

Sprinkle with grated cheese or add slices of tomatoes under the mashed potatoes.
This recipe is suitable for freezing. Bring dish to a cool temp as quickly as possible and cover well before freezing. Defrost in the fridge or microwave and bake as usual.